P. 1
Hydro & Aqua Ponics

Hydro & Aqua Ponics

|Views: 1|Likes:
Published by hgopalkrishnan
Small literature on home built Hydro and Aqua ponics projects
Small literature on home built Hydro and Aqua ponics projects

More info:

Published by: hgopalkrishnan on Apr 16, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less





Aquaponics and Hydroponics^

By Erik K. Johanson Johanson.erik@gmail.com N response to the publication of the Standards for Technological Literacy by the International Technology Education Association (ITEA). technology education teachers have scrambled to add biotechnology-reiated components to the curriculum. This can present a particular challenge in terms of funding. The school board in my district, like many otliers, I'm sure, is reluctant to approve new courses that will entail substantial start-up and staffing expenses. I decided that the best course of action called for integrating biotechnology into an existing course. And, it turns out, Tve found that with less than $1,000, a littie ingenuity, and some research I could easily incorporate a unique agricultural and biotechnology component into the existing technology education curriculum.


The Aquaponics Project
During my first year of teaching, I. like most other new teachers, was lianded a curriculum, a room, and stock of supplies, then given the traditional "There you go" by my supervisor. I also was told that, as part of the normal cycle, my curriculum was under review. Conestoga Valley has a strong commitment to meeting state standards and biotechnology was one Erik K. Johanson is a technology education teacher, Conestoga Valley High School, Lancaster, PA.

area the curriculum review board felt we should cover a little better—especially since Lancaster County is one of the top producers of nonirrigated agriculture in the country. At first I was overwhelmed with this new task, especially since I'd had no education in agriculture or biotechnology. But, like most technology education teachers, I started tinkering with the materials I was given. After reading through the documentation I had, 1 reali2ed that I had been given an aquaponics system kit—in other words, a system intended to grow plants and fish using the same water. After watching videos that came with the kit, I determined that I could integrate aquaponics into an existing class. This was a control and power technoiogy course in which students receive instruction regarding small gas engines, gears, electric motors, and programmable logic controllers (PLCs). I set as my goal teaching automation and regulation using control and power technologies in an activity in which my students would also learn about fish, plants, and the nitrogen cycle. Students started out by doing some general research on the Internet about the types of plants we would grow: tomatoes, radishes, lima beans, and spearmint. For the fish component, 1 decided to use inexpensive feeder goldfish. Among the hardiest fresh water fish, feeder goldfish can live in and with a wide range of temperatures, ph ranges, and ammo-

nia levels. Also, each fish can create a large amount of waste that can be converted via the nitrogen cycle for use as plant food. This is the cycle that my students would try to facilitate and regulate. My class was lucky in that we had recently purchased a PLC unit—a piece of equipment that proved invaluable to the success of project. We used the PLC as a timer to run everything from our lights, to adding chemicals, to pumping out water on timed cycles. You could also perform these functions without a PLC unit, which can cost about $4,000 for a small desktop model, through the use of mechanical timers. Even if you use mechanical timers, students will still get good experience in designing and building their system.

The Aquaponics System
You can create an aquaponics system for under $500. To start, you will need a fish tank, a submersible pump, PVC pipe to move the water from the pump to the bacteria chamber and to serve as the bacteria chamber, a PVC rain gutter cut in half to make two troughs, plastic practice golf balls, a lamp with a florescent plant bulb, an under-gravel filter system, aquarium gravei, and an air pump and air stone. Refer to the materials list for details. Use Fig. 1 as a guide to setting up the system. The way this system works is quite ingenious. Water is pumped from beneath the gravel via




) The water is then gravity fed through the two troughs where seedlings or plants are planted in a soilless environment. Tbe feeder is a simple design adapted from a traditional gumball machine. which adds bubbles of want to convert into plant food. Plastic 20-gallon tank creates enough waste golf balls in the chamber serve as a to grow 10 or more plants at a time. Hang the lamp about 6" to 12" above the plants. They have built a feeder using Legos and small gears hooked up to tbe PLC unit to feed tbe fisb automatically (Photo 2). which is turned into food tbe plants need to grow. air stone. produce an tbe waste and convert it into plant abundance of ammonia. or tbe plants will not be able to absorb the nutrients in tbe water. Tbe plants absorb througb tbeir roots tbe carbon dioxide CCO2) produced by the respiration of tbe fisb. my students have come up with several interesting solutions. wbich benefits tbe fisb. and misting valves really opens up the range of their creativity. a tub or bucket to store your water solution. Instead. Students will need to set the two troughs involved on an incline so water can naturally flow from one end back into tbe tank. and hydroponics plant food. Students also have created a way of adding chemicals througb tbe use of a solenoid-controlled valve medium on which tbe bacteria grow. Note tbat we are replacing soil with an inexpensively obtained material that reduces both costs and labor. Tbe plants do not put oxygen directly into the water since tbey release Fíg. Tbis system has the benefit of a much more powerful light source.fish live in symbiosis. air (and tbus oxygen) to the water.1—Components of the aquaponics system it througb their leaves. or 1" of rise for every 20" of run. which provides a wider spectrum of light to tbe plants. oxygen is added to the water the gravel filter system. The water is pumped to the bacteria chamber where harvested benGoldfish have a very high meeficial bacteria begin to break down tabolism and. PVC rain gutter. Tbis system is simpler to set up than tbe aquaponics system since you don't have living fisb to worry about. PVC pipe. while tbe holes in the ball allow water to flow through. witb about l"-2" of water flowing at a slow pace. Place tbe air stones that are at- transplant tbem to tbe hydroponics system. With tbis ligbt source. Notbing too fast. students should notice their plants growing faster than tbey do in tbe aquaponics system. air pump. Note that through tbe natural diffusion promost of the waste from the fish falls cess. to serve as bacteria chamber Plastic practice golf balls 15"florescent lamp 15" florescent plant bulb Under-gravel filter system Aquarium gravel Air pump and air stone tached to tbe air pump in the water storage device. a sump pump. 10" long x 6" dia. such as toilet bowl fill valves. Tbe sump pump is placed in tbe water with tbe PVC pipe used to direct tbe water flow to tbe far end of tbe trougbs. Tbis arrangement works great in my classroom: 1 use tbe aquaponics to sprout the seeds and then I Hydroponics Materials 250 W (or higher) metal balide high-intensity discfiarge lamp Tub or bucket PVC rain gutter Sump pump PVC pipe PVC valves Air pump and stone Plant food Hydroponics with tbe success of the aquaponics system. raising it as tbe plants grow. capacity Submersible pump PVC pipe to move water from pump to bacteria chamber PVC rain gutter. and tbe remaining water is then returned back into the aquarium. Regulation and Automation In the two years tbat Tve run this activity. tbe plants and 22 techdirections • SEPTEMBER 2009 . Allowing tbem to use anything they can get their hands on. PVC valves. The fish create waste. 1 got the go-ahead to add a simpler hydroponics system to the mix. (The solid surface gives the bacteria plenty of room to grow. Hydroponics involves growing plants without soil by adding chemical nutrients to facilitate plant growth. They modified a toilet bowl fill valve so they could hook it up to a sink and use it to regulate tbe water level in botb the aquaponics and hydroponics systems. To this point. as a result. Aquaponics Materials Fish tank. You can provide additional bento the bottom of the tank—and the efit through the use of the air pump waste is what you and your students and air stone. You will need a 250 W or better metal balide bighintensity discharge lamp. solenoid controlled valves (Photo I). Tbe valves control tbe water flow. This system can also be built for around $500. The plants absorb the food converted from the bacteria. One fisb in a food via the nitrogen cycle. my students have designed some very creative systems. cut in half PVC pipe. In this system. preferably at least 20 gal. High-intensity discharge (HID) lamps produce a lot of beat and are not suitable for use with fisb—the iamp would beat tbe water above the temperature at which the fish can survive. Tbe incline need only be a few degrees.

Cary Landis. Students adapted the gears from a Lego kit to drive the feeder. Chailenges While trying to work the kinks out of this project. Getting the water ready to effectively sustain fish and plant life is a tricky process. then react according to our preprogrammed instructions.com TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION 23 . I have been able to bring in other content areas. Photo 3 (below)—The PLC unit used to control the two systems. 1 suggest letting your students experiment with the systems. I encountered a few challenges. You must "cycle" the tank before adding any fish or plants. Through tbe engineering and design phase.Photo 1 (left)—The ctiemical-addition setup students created using an etectronicaliy controlled solenoid valve that was hooked up to our programmable logic controller Photo 2 {right)-The fish feeder. Communication projects range from three-fold brochures to documentary and informational videos about our project.s a more thorough educational experience. trying different setups. www. The first was with the aquaponics system. ® Program Success Our small aquaponics and hydroponics projects have proven so successful that my Photo 4—Examples of a variety of growth mediums: a simple filter sponge. This way. With the use of a 12 V power supply. you don't have to wait for tlie bacteria to build up naturally. Draining the two tanks is a snap with the addition of two sump pumps that not only pump water out on a regular basis before the chemical is added but also on demand via a switch override. We're expanding the projects with the purchase of sensors and software. I've found that the more they experiment with a particular setup. but my student have achieved success with a variety of setups. and experience with an expanding industrial field. Make use of the Internet for research purposes. Don Mann. the students created a system that activates every six hours to mist the leaves of the plants.techdirections. I remind my students that knowledge is power—and encourage each one to aim to be the most powerful person in aquaponics and hydroponics! students and I have been Invited to attend the Pennsylvania Asso<'iation of Communication Education and Technology's showcase held in our state capital for legislators and policy makers. Note the variety of devices attached and the use of 120 V and 24 V power supplies. Integrating biotechnology into the technology education curriculum at Conestoga Valley High School has enabled us to give sttident. and the small seedling sitting in the water. My students and I have spent many hours researching online to get these two systems running well. This provides students interested in other areas of technology with an engaging way to contribute. We plan to try to have the PLC tinit recognize signals frotn the sensors. Author's note: I want to thank Gerald Huesken. hooked up to the PLC timer (Photo -A). I'm pleased to have an opportunity to provide otlier educators with activities they can use to introduce their own students to the rapidly growing biotechnology field. which means ¿idding bacteria two weeks before you add fish.) I have still not found one way that works best. You can purchase the bacteria at a local pet store. and it will begin converting waste as soon as the fish are added. and Chris Smith for their support and assistance with the activities described in this article. This parallels the team approach used in engineering and design in industry. (See Photo 4. a basket with clay pellets. such as desktop publishing and videography. the better it will perform.

You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->